Dec. 6, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The NCAA updated its final Women's Soccer RPI of the season on Wednesday with Tennessee finishing the year at No. 18.
The Lady Vols made a 15-spot leap from its finish in the 2011 NCAA Women's Soccer RPI when they finished 33rd. Soccer America ranked Tennessee at No. 25 in its final poll of the year. UT finished just outside the top 25 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I Women's final postseason poll with 52 votes to technically rank 26th.
Tennessee enjoyed a banner 2012 season in head coach Brian Pensky's first year at the helm. UT went 14-5-3 and made its 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Lady Vols also outperformed preseason league expectations, finishing third in the SEC after they were picked to 11th in the SEC Preseason Coaches' Poll in August.
UT boasted one of the nation's elite defenses. Tennessee's 0.69 goals-against average set a new program record and the Lady Vols recorded 11 shutouts. UT also produced the longest shutout streak in school history with 533:22 of scoreless defense from Aug. 19 through Sept. 9.
Sophomore forward Hannah Wilkinson was named a 2012 NSCAA/Continental Tire Women's NCAA Division I third team All-American, becoming the fifth Lady Vol to earn All-America honors. Wilkinson also earned 2012 NSCAA Division I Women's first team All-South Region and first team All-SEC honors as she led conference with eight goals in league play.
Senior defender Ali Hall received some much overdue praise for her leadership on the back line, earning 2012 NSCAA Division I Women's second team All-South Region and second team All-SEC honors. As a physical center back, Hall's leadership helped mold the UT defense into one of the best units in the country.
Tennessee also had two Offensive Player of the Week honorees in senior midfielder Amy Harrison (Aug. 20) and Wilkinson (Oct. 22) and two Defensive Player of the Week selection in Hall (Oct. 8) and sophomore goalkeeper Julie Eckel (Oct. 22).
Four Lady Vols earned national weekly awards during the season. After an impressive opening weekend of the season in which she scored four goals in two games, Harrison garnered Top Drawer Soccer College Player of the Week (Aug. 20) and Soccer America Women's National Team of the Week (Aug. 22) honors. Sophomore defender Allie Sirna was named to the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week on Aug. 27 when she anchored the back line over the full 197 minutes of UT's shutouts wins over William & Mary and VCU. Wilkinson earned Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week and TSWA Women's College Soccer Player of the Week honors on Oct. 22 and Soccer America National Team of the Week accolades on Oct. 25 after netting goals in UT's road wins over No. 9 Texas A&M and Ole Miss. Eckel received CollegeSoccer360.com National Primetime Player of the Week and Soccer News Net Women's College Player of the Week honors on Oct. 23 after she posted 15 saves in UT's wins over No. 9 Texas A&M and Ole Miss.